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The Movies

Culture | The top 5 movies in popularity as measured by box office receipts from 11/26/99 to 11/28/99

Issue: "Daniel of the Year 1999," Dec. 18, 1999
Toy Story 2 $57.4 million
2 weeks in release
$80.5 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Tom Hanks, Tim Allen (voices) / John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Ash Brannon / Disney and Pixar
Content Rated G
Plot Woody is kidnapped by an evil toy-store owner, who finds him a rare collector's item and wants to sell him to a museum in Japan.
Gist Toys exist to be enjoyed by children, not to be locked away in collectors' vaults
The World Is Not Enough $23.2 million
2 weeks in release
$75.5 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau / Michael Apted / MGM
Content Rated PG-13 for bad language, violence, and sexual situations. The sex content is cranked up, so this is definitely not for children
Plot James Bond runs across Europe and Asia trying to stop someone from blowing up an oil pipeline
Worldview James Bond is the Playboy Philosophy translated to celluloid: The handsome man with no conscience can do anything
End of Days $20.5 million
1 week in release
$31.5 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne / Peter Hyams / Universal Pictures
Content Rated R for bad language, violence, gore, and sexual situations. Heavily blasphemous
Plot Satan comes to earth just before Y2K day to impregnate a woman and destroy the world
Gist Retro-Omen nonsense treats the Bible as a sourcebook of horror
Sleepy Hollow $18.4 million
2 weeks in release
$61.6 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci / Tim Burton / Paramount Pictures
Content Rated R for bad language, violence, gore, and sexual situations
Plot Washington Irving's classic tale pitting Ichabod Crane against the Headless Horseman gets a big-budget, not-for-kids treatment
Worldview Pop Goth: The Headless Horseman could be anyone-and he's coming to get you next
Pokemon: The First Movie $7.1 million
3 weeks in release
$77.7 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Veronica Taylor, Philip Bartlett (voices) / Kunihiko Yuyama / Warner Bros.
Content Rated G (contains animated violence)
Plot Super-powered, telepathic Pokémon clone turns against its creators and decides to take over the world
Worldview Pseudo-pacifistic mush with hypocritical preachy messages that fighting is wrong and that a human sacrificing himself for Pokémon is noble
In the Spotlight
Is there more to learn about the Holocaust? Roberto Benigni's bittersweet comedy about the terrible event, Life Is Beautiful (Miramax; rated PG-13 for Holocaust-related thematic elements), won an Academy Award for Best Actor and Best Foreign Film. Now available on video in both the original Italian (with subtitles) and dubbed English, this is more fable than historical drama. Mr. Benigni, who stars in this film with his wife, Nicoletta Braschi, is Guido, a Jewish waiter in fascist Italy. He spends the first part of this movie trying to win her affections-and how could any woman refuse this character's charm? It's a beautiful romance, in a chaotic time, where bureaucrats travel to schools lecturing on race theory, and eugenics is fare for dinner party chitchat. After several years, the couple and their young son (Giorgio Cantarini) are sent off to a concentration camp. Guido has an unusual plan to save his son's life and to keep him from being afraid. He tells him they are contestants in a game and must do exactly what the big, mean-looking guys tell them to do, so they can win the big prize at the end. The idea of what the boy believes, mixed with his wonderful wide-eyed expressions, add volumes to the terrific mix of laughter and tears. Of course, no one could keep up such a ruse-but this story of a father protecting his son can't help but be deeply touching. Comedy works here in ways that drama alone might not, and Mr. Benigni's Oscar is well deserved.

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